Friday, May 18, 2012

A new day door-ning

Dooring's been in the news a bit lately. The ABC had a go covering it the other week (you can read about it here). And yesterday The Age published (quite a good) article on dooring with the catchy headline Cycling's door zone of death.



The article covered the main points - it's the door operator's responsibility to check for cars, cyclists can reduce their own risks by being careful, the leading cause of hospitalisation for cyclists is dooring, etc., etc.

But what piqued my interest was Dan's comment. I don't know Dan. I don't want to know Dan. Dan's from Sydney and here is his comment;
"And if a door is opened into a cyclist’s path, causing a collision, who is to blame? The law is unequivocal in this instance: people are obliged to open doors with care, and any resulting collision is the fault of the door opener." That is the stupidest thing I've ever read. ANY resulting collision? So if a cyclist (or another driver for that matter) is driving too close, not paying attention, drunk, asleep, then its still the door opener's fault?! If a car is parked on the side of the road and the driver opens the door to exit the car only to find a cyclist wrapped around the doorframe then I would assert that the cyclist hasn't allowed enough room between themselves and the car and are riding too close. As usual, cyclists trying to blame everyone but themselves for their poor judgement and perverted necessity to be as much of a nuisance and inconvenience to motorists as possible.

I'd like to pick this apart a bit. Firstly, is that really the stupidest thing you've ever heard, Dan? I can think of several far more stupid things right off the top of my head (OK, actually I can't so I'm going to look up some stupid things on google). OK, here, look, I found a video that shows some stupidity;





I think it's safe to say that there are lots more stupid things. Actually, once my dad said something really stupid. He was playing scrabble and someone played T-W-O and my dad said, in a hoity-toity kind of voice, "And what is twoe?" As in "toe" with a W shoved in. Pretty stupid right? He's not stupid though.

And once a friend of mine who has, in the past, been referred to as "my little friend" got a puncture. He didn't want to remove his wheel and couldn't figure out how to remove his tube (that's because you can't remove the tube without removing the wheel), so he just bit through the tube. Pretty stupid right? He's not stupid though. It was soon after this, when he was trying to install the new tube that he realised he'd have to bite through the new tube to put it in. But then there'd be a whole in the new tube. Then he realised he'd have to remove the wheel. See, not so stupid after all.

I could go on. Ah, fuck it, I will. Once a friend of mine decided to try riding standing up while cycling. No problem there. Then she thought she'd add in riding no hands. She face-planted.

OK, now let's get back to the comment. Let's break it down.

"So if a cyclist...is driving too close, not paying attention, drunk, asleep, then its still the door opener's fault?!"

Yes. Cyclists often have no choice but to ride "too close". It's not ideal but that's the way it is. The alternative is taking a lane which is often better but also seems to make drivers angry. And sometimes when you do that you get run over by garbage trucks.


Where should I ride here, Dan?

Yes. How is paying attention going to protect a cyclist from a door? Sure, you could ride along looking in every car but then you wouldn't be able to watch where you were going. And what about little old ladies? You can't see them because they're so little.

Yes. While you shouldn't be drunk while cycling it's still not your fault if someone flings a door open in your path. Sure, you can be fined for drinking-riding but that's not the issue here.

I'm willing to be a little lenient regarding the "asleep" scenario. Yes, if I'm asleep while cycling I will take full responsibility. Actually, once I tried riding with my eyes closed. It's really scary. Pretty stupid, huh?

If a car is parked on the side of the road and the driver opens the door to exit the car only to find a cyclist wrapped around the doorframe then I would assert that the cyclist hasn't allowed enough room between themselves and the car and are riding too close driver didn't look in the mirror to check if anyone was coming.

As usual, Dan cyclists trying to blame everyone but themselves for their poor judgement and perverted necessity to be as much of a nuisance and inconvenience to motorists as possible is making spurious arguments to support a fallacious position that is in reality untenable and defies logic.

The only way I can see a cyclist ever being at fault for being doored is if they somehow disappear à la Invisible Woman.

Or perhaps if they rig up an automatic door-opening feature in their car then proceed to ride besides their car and simultaneously activate the door-opening feature thus existing as both the doored and the dooree. And an idiot.

On a serious note, there are things cyclists can do to reduce the risk of being doored. I've written about some of these things in the past. But the fact that there are ways to minimise the risk does not transfer the burden of responsibility to cyclists.

You could just as well argue that cyclists simply shouldn't exist because if that were the case there would be no cycling injuries.

In fact, I think Dan's comments is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. If you know him, please pass this on.

And happy Friday.

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